Optional Science Tours

Optional tours and activities are sold based on availability. Rates include applicable taxes; however, the guide’s gratuities are at your discretion. Tours may be canceled if minimum requirements are not met so please book early to avoid disappointment. All tours will start and end at the Pasadena Convention Center unless otherwise stated

To book these tours and more, please visit our registration page: Registration & Hotel Booking

If you are looking for alternative suggestions, please visit our Pasadena Gallery Tours Page

Mount Wilson Observatory Tour

(5 hours)

$69 per person – minimum 30 participants

Sat. July 14 -10:00-15:00 (lunch box included)

Located on the summit of Mount Wilson above Pasadena at an altitude of 5715 feet, the Observatory is visible from much of the Los Angeles area. Home to the historic Hooker 100-inch telescope, Mount Wilson is the most scientifically productive astronomical observatory in history and was the preeminent facility in the world in both stellar and solar studies during the first half of the twentieth century. Modern instrumentation has enabled both the original superb telescopes and more-recently-built facilities here to continue Mount Wilson’s pioneering heritage in new fields of study. 

Price includes: Deluxe coach transportation, docent led tour of the observatory and the grounds (approx. 2 hours), boxed lunch, applicable taxes & service charges.

Note: this tour involves walking at elevation and on uneven surfaces.

All Aboard! Tour of SOFIA at COSPAR on Sunday, July 22, 2018

(8 hours)


Sund. July 22

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) will be hosting a tour of the observatory and its facilities at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, with participants guided throughout the tour by SOFIA scientists!

SOFIA consists of a Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying a telescope with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters to altitudes between 12 and 14 km (39,000 to 45,000 ft). At those altitudes, SOFIA is above more than 99 percent of Earth’s atmospheric water vapor to yield an 80 percent average atmospheric transmission. The telescope is mounted in an open cavity in the aft section of the aircraft and views the sky through a port-side door. SOFIA was designed to allow for an evolving science instrument suite, making it one of the premier facilities for astronomical observations at infrared wavelengths. The present instrument suite enables imaging, spectroscopy, and polarimetry observations from 0.3–612 μm and additional capabilities are currently in development. SOFIA is a joint project of NASA and the DLR (German Aerospace Center) designed to provide a world-class, versatile observatory for the next two decades.

The tour is free, with transportation to and from the COSPAR conference venue, and lunch will be provided. The technical nature of the tour is intended for COSPAR participants, but those not attending the conference may still register for the waitlist. The chance to participate in a tour of the observatory guided by SOFIA scientists is popular and space is extremely limited, so register early!

To register for this tour click this link (all other tours are bookable on the main registration page) 
More information click here.

Honeybee Robotics


Address:  398 West Washington Blvd., Suite 200, Pasadena, CA 91103

Date and time: Thursday, July 19 & Friday, July 20, lunch will be provided starting at 12:30 and the tour will go from 13:00 – 14:00.  The tour is limited to 20 participants, however if there is sufficient interest, a second tour may be added.

Transportation: COSPAR is not able to provide transportation for this free tour.  Honeybee Robotics is a 10 minute drive from the Pasadena Convention Center and participants may drive their own cars or take Uber or Lyft.

Honeybee Robotics is an industry leader in developing sample acquisition, handling and delivery systems. Examples of hardware developed on Mars include Rock Abrasion Tool on Mars Exploration Rovers, Icy Soil Acquisition Device on Mars Phoenix, and Sample Manipulation System on Curiosity. Honeybee’s 20,000 SF Pasadena office has numerous projects currently under development, as well as large test chambers and clean rooms. The tour will include overview of various drilling and sample handling systems such as Resource Prospector/ Icebreaker drill for the Moon and Mars, Venus drill that operates at 500 C, NanoDrills that are deployed from drones, Europa and Mars Deep Drill (4 m tall) with Deep UV/Raman spectrometer currently tested for Greenland field deployment, and much more. The tour will include a behind a scene peek at test programs, clean room assembly and more.







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